Discography: U2 – Rock Period

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All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000)
I still remember a friend calling me to tell about “Beautiful Day” the day it came out. It was back in the Napster era and I got right online to check it out. I must’ve played five times in a row at least. It was the best rock song I’d heard in years and it came from a band that had moved ever further away from traditional rock music over the preceeding decade. What is so amazing about All That You Can’t Leave Behind is that it’s a straightforward rock album yet still sounds like completely like U2. I think this, perhaps more than all the record sales and millions of fans, shows their impact on rock music. After 20 years, they make a consciously mainstream album and it sounds like them, because their influence on rock has been so pervasive. “Beautiful Day” is the one outstanding song in a sea of very, very good material. The only fault with the album is that it celebrates all that they’ve done, but doesn’t break new ground as they’d done so often before. I also see All That You Can’t Leave Behind similar to how I see REM’s Monster. Like REM, U2’s music became less rock oriented and I think they wanted an album where they could go on tour and just play the songs without trying to create a club effect.
Rating: 8/10

How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (2004)
I don’t know that there’s much to say about this one that I didn’t already say above. Even with “Vertigo” showing up in a commercial, I don’t grow tired of it. The album is full of solid songs that once again show U2’s impact on the rock world by being both mainstream and distinctly U2 at the same time. While I’ve enjoyed the last two albums, I’m curious to see if U2 will reinvent themselves yet again and take us on another ride into the future of rock and roll.
Rating: 8/10

About bobvinyl

bobvinyl, writer and co-editor of No Song is an Island, founded its predecessor, Rock and Roll and Meandering Nonsense (whose archives are found here), in 2005 and served as editor and principal contributor until it went on hiatus in 2010. He has also been published in AMP and Loud Fast Rules! (in print) as well as Glide and FensePost on the web. He has been an avid record collector since he was seven years old and enjoys sharing his love of music from the common to the esoteric.

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